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99 Yatra
1,000 villages may be declared drought affected
24 January 2013

GANDHINAGAR: On Wednesday morning, residents in Amreli left every other chore so that they could store water. The Saurashtra town received water supply after a gap of 20 days! 

Fearing that situation may get out of hands, the state government plans to declare about 1,000 villages as drought affected and an additional 3,000 villages as partially-affected. The move comes after MLAs from Saurashtra and Kutch —the two regions have received just 35% of the average rainfall — raised issues like drinking water scarcity, fodder shortage and migration on the sidelines of the two-day assembly session. 

The worst hit areas are Jamnagar, Porbandar, Rajkot, Amreli, Surendranagar and Bhavnagar and parts of Kutch region. 

Water crisis is testing the nerves of people, especially women, in Saurashtra. A group of women had ransacked the Jetpur municipality office a month ago after the town did not get water for 12 consecutive days. Recently, women had also jammed the Junagadh-Veraval highway in Keshod after going water-less for 20 days. The problem is serious in urban centres like Rajkot, Gondal, Dhoraji, Upleta, Jetpur and among others. 

The issue was discussed in the cabinet meeting chaired by CM Narendra Modi. Later, revenue minister Anandiben Patel called a meeting to review the situation and asked officials to gear up before the crisis escalate. 

Considering that the scarcity is so acute in winter months, the situation will get only worse during summer. With most dams in Saurashtra’s having dried up, a total ban on supplying water for irrigation has been imposed and water is being diverted for drinking purpose. 

"The irony is that Narmada, Ukai, Dharoi and Kadana dams have sufficient water but there is not adequate distribution system beyond Navda, near Dhandhuka from where water can be taken to four different regions," a senior official said.

Courtesy: The Times of India kutchhis globally , from Mumbai

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